Ink Blending Info

Hello! Today I am sharing information about my favorite tools, papers, inks, and such for creating ink blended backgrounds.

[All supplies are linked to multiple sources in the thumbnails at the end of this post. Multiple stores are also linked in the parentheses following the product name. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.]

My video shares the tools I like to use for ink blending. I have used the Tim Holtz Mini Ink Blending Tools for many years, and they are wonderful… especially for applying a heavy amount of blended color… of pretty much any ink type. And recently, blending brushes have become more popular. I like these tools for a lighter application of water-based dye ink. Be sure to watch the video for a comparison of the different options.

By the way, I only share brushes from crafty companies. I know the quality will be good and that they will back their products. Also, there are other types of inking tools, such as daubers and sponges. However, I feel the ones I focused on today are the most versatile and best for most inking applications. Finally, keep in mind I am not an expert on these products – I just am sharing my experience.

I am hesitant to do a price comparison, but I know people will be interested. Keep in mind that it is really hard to compare as the size of the tools vary, etc. For the brushes, I priced the medium/bigger brushes, not the tiny detailers. Also, prices vary.

I have all of these options linked in the thumbnails below… along with the work surfaces and paper I like for inking… and storage options.

I hope this is helpful!


Want to find the products I used? I have listed them below. (Compensated affiliate links used at no cost to you. Thank you for your support! Affiliate and product disclosure can be found here. All products were personally purchased. Although I did receive a few to try from the some of the companies, I bought additional of every tool personally. As always, I was not paid to do this post. I only use products I love!) Click on the icons below each product picture to go to a favorite store.

Mini Ink Blending Tool
[ SSS ]
Mini Ink Blending Tool Foam Refills
[ SSS ]
Picket Fence Life Changing Brushes
[ SSS | ELH | GNK | PFS ]
Taylored Expressions Blender Brushes
[ TE ]
The Stamp Market Blending Brushes
[ SSS | ELH | THS ]
Honey Bee Background Blender Brushes
[ SSS | HNB ]
Honey Bee Detail Blender Brushes
[ SSS | HNB ]
Trinity Stamp White Blending Buddy
[ SSS | ELH | TRN ]
Trinity Stamps Brown Blending Buddy
[ SSS | TRN ]
Ink Blending Tool Storage
Organize More Ink Storage
[ ORG ]
Blending Brush Caddy
[ SSS ]
Round Brush Holder
[ SSS ]
Taylored Expressions Storage Caddy
[ TE ]
Cable Clips
Neenah Classic Crest 110lb Cardstock
Koh-i-noor Bristol Cardstock
[ SSS ]
Gina K Pure Luxury White 120lb Cardstock
[ GNK ]
Gina K Pure Luxury White 80lb Cardstock
[ GNK ]
*Waffle Flower Water Media Mat
[ SSS | WFF | ELH ]
Tim Holtz Tonic Glass Media Mat
[ SSS | ELH ]
Microfiber Cloth

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35 thoughts on “Ink Blending Info”

  1. Thank you for doing these comparisons Jennifer. I have been holding off buying the blending brushes and this will help me in making a choice. I agree about the importance of the work surface and paper quality, it makes a huge difference. Enjoyed your video.

  2. Thank you so much Jennifer. You mentioned distress ink and dye ink as being thr best inks to use the blender brushes with. What tool do you recommend to use with Distress Oxides?

  3. Thank you so much for all you do. Just wanted to let you know your link for the Taylored Expressions brushes and caddy is not working. I was on their website and it looks like they are in stock.

  4. Thank you so much Jennifer for this great video. I always love that you use the tools you show so you can realy say if it works or not. And how it works the best.

  5. I’m completely baffled by the companies who sell the “life changing” brushes for $50 when they are the exact same brushes available from Amazon for $9. I know this for a fact since I saw them in person side by side. Makes me sad that reputable companies would do this to their customers. So thankful a friend found the brushes on Amazon so I didn’t waste money–not that I would ever have spent $50 for them! Plenty of wonderful stamps & dies I can buy with the $40 savings.

    1. If I can give you another perspective Greta. Just because someone on Amazon is selling a product that’s the same or similar doesn’t mean that the reputable company purchased that product for the same price. I would bet a million that they paid much more money so therefore they have to sell it for more. So please don’t let a good & reputable company get a demerit. Thanks for reading I so appreciate it.

      1. Hi Jennifer,
        I can believe the stamping companies didn’t pay the same as the company on Amazon. The problem to me is that they gave the brushes a special name & made it sound like a new product they came up with–“Set of 10 ergonomically designed ink blending brushes created for easy application of all water-based ink.” It appears they were created as makeup brushes. There is no name on the actual brushes. It feels like we’re being tricked. I have no issue with the companies like TE who made changes to the brushes, so they aren’t exactly the same thing. I support the ligitimate companies & won’t buy the cheap immitations of their designs. The brushes are a whole different thing. Thanks for listening.

    2. Greta, I get you. I too purchased the brushes on Amazon because I saw them first before the Picket Fence brushes came to my attention. I am very happy with my $9 purchase and I am sure if I had PF first, I would be as equally happy.

    3. craft companies don’t get the bulk discount that those companies on amazon do. they are charging that much based on what they have to pay for them. I promise they don’t want to charge that much!

  6. Great video, as always, Jennifer. I have often struggled to get smooth blending using the Tim Holtz mini blending tools without getting arcs of deeper colour. After much practise I can honestly say that I can get nice results with them now. I have had greater success with the makeup style blending brushes and the participants in my card making classes at our local Georgian Bay Cancer Support Centre find them much easier to use. Storage has been a problem for me and I really appreciate your suggestions. Thanks a bunch! Another tool that you might want to check out is the Domed Foam Applicators that are available through

  7. Great comparison video. I splurged and bought 2 sets of Taylored Expressions brushes, 1 set for Distress Oxides, and one set for my other inks. I love the white bristles and colored handles. I also like they are all one size, perfection!! Just looking at them makes me happy. I have noticed the quality has really declined on the mini ink blending foam discs. The backing is SO thin that now they tear when removing them. Since you have one for each color, you might not have noticed since you aren’t removing them. I keep them stored in a coin pouch protector, like your ink swatches.

    1. I’ve noticed this too on the mini ink blending foam discs! I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. I’ve tried removing them slower and only after about two removals I end up having to throw away the foam because the backing has fallen off.

    2. I have noticed this too that the backing on the mini ink blending foam discs is not as good as it used to be. It is very difficult to remove from the blending tool without tearing. Very disappointing 🙁

  8. Please try to review the new domed velcro-backed pads that fit on the wood tim holtz blender tools. I have terrible results with the flat refills and hope that the domed ones would solve the problem of circles on my try at blending. Thanks.

  9. Thanks for this review, lots of info here. I’m one of the people who use make up brushes. I’ve been using them for quite some time, long before the craft ones came out and I love them. I also love my mini blending tools, I have little boxes that I got a the Dollar Tree that are sectioned off and are the perfect size for the pads. I put the names on the top of the box and switch out as I go, I think I have 3 of the tools.

  10. Thanks for the great review. I have the Picket Fence brushes in many sizes and the Taylored Expressions. Love them both. I like your idea of tying a string around the Picket Fence brushes but I’m wondering about ink getting on the string and then on my paper. I’m kind of a messy crafter so maybe not a problem for some but I was wondering if you ever experienced that or think that could be an issue. I noticed some of the strings were longer on your brushes.

  11. Another great comparison video, Jennifer…I purchased the Picket Fence Studio Blending Brushes and absolutely love them! Well worth the price point! Very well made and I get awesome results with them. I am loving your idea about the cable clip organizers for them….woo hoo! I’m so excited!! Perfect solution for me!! Thanks for sharing and for being YOU…such a blessing you are to the stamping community! Inky hugs!!

    1. Thank you so much for all your hard work researching the products and taking the time to video your comparisons for us. It definitely helps. How do sponge daubers fit in with the ink blending tool & the brushes? I don’t own any but wondered if I need the daubers. Are they more like ink blending tools but for smaller areas? Also, there are rounded/domed sponge discs for ink blending tools now offered by Have you used those?

  12. Thank you Jennifer, so much, for all this very valuable and useful information. I really appreciate all the time you take to educate us and show us the ins/outs of various products for our hobby. I love my blending brushes and now I think I will try out the Tim Holtz blenders as well. I’ve seen a few of your videos where you blend your backgrounds and they are always beautiful. I cannot wait to pick these up and give it a go. I am also going to take your suggestion and color code my brushes. I worry that I wash them too much so this will save me on the cleaning wear and tear.

  13. Great video Jennifer. I have been wondering about the other brushes since so many other options have come out since the Picket Fence ones. How do the ones that are all the same size compare to the sizes of the Picket Fence ones? I have a set of those and would like to know which brush head size roughly matches the Taylored Expressions, Trinity, etc. Thank you! Love your videos. Always great and very informative 🙂

  14. Great video and lots of good tips. Made me giggle with your comment about makeup. There are makeup brushes where one costs more than a whole set of the ones you reviewed and are definitely high quality. But I understand wanting to support craft companies. Only have the Tim Holtz tool right now but watching this makes me want to invest in some of the others. Thank you for this review!

  15. There is another “new” blending tool on the market. It’s made by
    and is very much like the Tim Holtz blending tool. The handles are the same but
    the foam on the end is dome shaped , which for me ends the harsh lines you sometimes
    get from the flat foam disk. I do not work for nor do I get any compensation.
    I am just a crafter like everyone else and wanted to pass on some info that may be
    helpful to you.

  16. As always…picked up some neat ideas and tips from your video! I was using felt instead of foam for blending…oops. But I have some of the Stamp Market and Picket Fence brushes and happily learned about them from you in the past. Today Cathy Zielske, CZ Designs had a neat video about some new blender brush holders by Make it by Marko. You two have great timing!

  17. Thanks for this information and the video demo, Jennifer. I especially enjoyed seeing your organizational options.

  18. This is an ol post I ha to find. I have a plethora of ink blending brushes from gina K, life changing picket fence, altenew minis, and some knockoffs I got on amazon. They are all soft, dense, great blending. but I have two brushes that I have washed in only water with nothing else that turned stiff and hard as a rock and I will not blend anymore. These two are completely different manufacturers and two different sizes. Has this ever happened to you or anyone that you know? I didn’t use any chemicals because I was afraid to. wondering if the glue for bristles to the handle was activated and thats what the stiffness came from. Help!

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